The concept of alterity constitutes an important issue in anthropological research and, therefore, in the study of musical practices, as well. Without it, we could hardly understand other kinds of music situated in different spaces and time from the observer. In order to effectively approach these musical practices, we have to develop strategies to help us reduce as much as possible that which distorts the vision of the other. However, beyond the strictly epistemological and methodological issues, the study of music cannot ignore the ethical question related to the manner in which Western thought has understood and treated the other: through a hierarchical and stereotypical type of thinking based on the condition of otherness. Throughout the article, different alterity procedures are presented and discussed, such as synecdochization, exoticization, undervaluation, overvaluation, misunderstanding and exclusion. Taking these different alterity strategies into account may help us to better understand how the musical other is constructed, used and ultimately instrumentalized.
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